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A Cottagers Contemplation - Is Moneyball on the cusp of revolutionizing Football?

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Moneyball is often misunderstood. At it’s core it’s about identifying players that might be undervalued or finding a way to put a correct value on a player to keep from overpaying. That definition is hard to argue against. Unfortunately not every team attempting to use these methods do it correctly, and fans often don’t understand what the club is doing.

Tony Khan
Tony Khan may be the architect of Moneyball at Fulham
Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The world of football has change drastically, With scouting no longer being he only way to gain intel on possible acquisitions.

The world of sport has began implementing the philosophy known as ‘Moneyball’.

In which the philosophy evaluates players on ‘Sabermetrics’ in an attempt to reveal a player's true value on performance related statistics.

Sabermetrics was created by Baseball teams seeking to bypass the vast financial differences within their sport. In attempt to identify the most cost efficient players, to help compete with the financial juggernauts of the sport.

British Football is attempting to adapt to the philosophy over the last few seasons after the success in it has seen in Baseball.

So how does the system work?

For example; the manager is interested in signing a creative midfielder with a pass accuracy of over 70 percent, more than 55 percent of his completed passes are forward and creates a minimum of 8 chances a game. Analysts would use that criteria to search for a shortlist of players who suit the given requirements and scout the stockpiled players.

In the current market, Evaluation of players are assessed non scientifically and inflated dramatically on nothing more than predictions.

The Moneyball philosophy gives the opportunity to clubs lower in the league and of lesser financial standing a chance to assemble a squad strong enough to challenge against the more favoured teams. Which is the main attraction of Moneyball to the British Football, Like Baseball also sees a contrasting financial strengths amongst it’s leagues.


Moneyball in Fulham

Fulham have had two varying outcomes of the technique. Opening questions surrounding the philosophies prosperity within Football.

Michael Madl who originally came into the squad on loan from SK Sturm Graz in January, Hit the ground running as his introduction to the squad instantaneously steadied Fulham's lackluster defense. Madl’s contribution at the club earned him a permanent switch to Craven Cottage in May.

Fulham v Charlton Athletic   - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Sakari Matilla on the other hand joined the club last summer. Starting life at The Cottagers with a pretty sub par season.

His signing at the club was not met by a negative response from the fans but currently Mattila looks nothing more than a squad rotation player.

With the Midfielder not matching the same impact as Madl, leads to the aforementioned questioning of the effectiveness of the method. However whilst adapting to a new league, You can not write off the Finnish international to find his feet later on in tenure at the club.

Fulham v Stoke City - Capital One Cup Third Round Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images

The Pro's and Con's

For:

Moneyball is beneficial to help resolve the financial divide of the current football market. A solution for the teams with a smaller budget to compete against the marquee signings with possible hidden gems.

Against:

However intriguing it may be, the method may not work in football. It efficenly works in Baseball as statistics play a big role to the sport. Football is in vast contrast to Baseball. Football is a fluid sport and British fans feel slightly overwhelmed by the protruding stats and figures.


With the success of the philosophy in Baseball, How long will it take until we see it take place in Football as common place?

Are you for or against 'Moneyball'?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.